The Dog who Came in from the Cold – Alexander McCall Smith (Chapters 1 – 23)

The BookDepository

corduroy-logo_1__1468322fWe have now been treated to a month of Alexander McCall Smith’s new online novel The Dog Who Came in From the Cold, so I thought it was time to reflect on my experience.

..

.

I am listening to the podcast, narrated by Andrew Sachs. This is the first time I have listened to a book in serial form and I am very impressed at how well it is working. I much prefer listening this way, as I found that reading Corduroy Mansions over the course of a few days, was just too much – there were too many snippets of information to be able to digest any of them properly.

Listening to just a few minutes each day gives you plenty of time to ponder each weird, but wonderful insight into these peoples’ lives. Andrew Sachs is a very good narrator, making each section easy to listen to.

As with Corduroy Mansions, this new book is more a series of character observations than a novel, but I was surprised by the recent development in The Dog who Came in from the ColdCorduroy Mansions dealt with very normal, often mundane activities,

WARNING SPOLILERS! Highlight text to read

so the introduction of spies was a bit of a shock for me. I’m not sure that I know where it is going , but I like that, and hope the book continues to deviate from the lives of average people.

I also loved the little snippets of information in each chapter – some of which I struggled to believe, so I actually took the time to look up. I think the most surprising fact was that the hedgehog was a symbol of gluttony in Western art and while seeking out that information I discovered that the bat, the toad, and the pig are also symbols of evil or gluttony in Western art.

I look forward to discovering where this story is going and getting to know all the characters in greater detail.

Have you enjoyed the first month of The Dog who Came in from the Cold?

What has been your favourite thing so far?


Send to Kindle

18 Comments

  1. Amy says:

    I meant to listen to this book and wasn’t able to get to it the first week so I haven’t checked in with it. I was really looking forward to it. I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I was in Barnes & Noble a few days ago and they are selling several of Alexander McCall Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie series at half price. I’m thinking of returning and picking a few up. Maybe I won’t feel so bad about missing out on Corduroy Mansions. I will enjoy your experiences as you listen to the rest of the book!

    Have an enjoyable Sunday!

    1. Jackie says:

      Amy, All the episodes of the Dog Who Came in from the Cold are still available here:
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/corduroymansionsbyalexandermcca/
      so there is still chance to catch it.
      I hope you enjoy it!

    2. fdsfdsfd says:

      haven’t checked in with it. I was really looking forward to it. I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I was in Barnes & Noble a few days ago and they are selling several of Alexander McCall Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie series at half price. I’m thinking of returning and picking a few up. Maybe I won’t feel so bad about missing out on Corduroy Mansions. I will enjoy your experiences as you listen to the rest of the book!

  2. Rachel says:

    I have joined up to this and have yet to get started but I am excited to!

    1. Jackie says:

      Rachel, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it soon!

  3. mee says:

    I saw this before but I missed the entire Book One. Do you know if it’s available somewhere? I’m very reluctant to start on the second part straight away.

    1. Jackie says:

      mee, I don’t think it available free anymore – I had to go and buy a copy. I’m sure it will be in libraries though.

  4. Dot says:

    I’m reading this on-line too and really enjoying it!!

    1. Jackie says:

      Dot, I’m pleased that reading it is just as enjoyable as listening to it.

  5. David Nolan says:

    Given the great enthusiasm I have already revealled here (and elsewhere) for this and other series by McCall Smith, you will hardly be surprised to read that I am indeed enjoying “The Dog Who Came In From the Cold”.

    I agree with you that Andrew Sachs does an excellent job as the narrator of the audio version. That said, this time around I have read almost as many chapters as I have listened to. This is due in no small part to the Telegraph’s regretable decision to only make the podcast version available via I-Tunes, unlike the first series when the mp3 file could simply be download direct from the newspaper’s website. I have a non-Apple mp3 player and found that if I tried to use I-Tunes to get the podcast, the files all ended up incorrectly named, so I never knew which chapter I was going to get next! So I gave up on the downloads and listened (hush, hush, even recorded) the audio from the Corduroy Mansions pages on the Telegraph site. This is nowhere near as convenient as downloading, hence I have often preferred to just read the next installment instead.

    I’m enjoying the storyline that you chose to allude to, appropriately enough, in the online equivalent of invisible ink. Was this a deliberate effort on your part to mirror the story, or is it a technique you intend to use again to hide spoilers? It’s interesting how many of the people leaving comments on the Tgraph site are very annoyed with William for his decision to allow Freddie to be recruited. I would have expected at least one or two Tgraph readers to applaud William for putting his country before his personal interests. If the Telegraph is a defender of traditional British/English values (there is a difference between British and English, of course, though not some might suggest in the minds of some readers of said newspaper), then perhaps the reaction to this story reveals that many Brits would put their dogs first?

    I am one of several people who have left comments on the site wondering why the “dog share” arrangement that first brought William and Freddie together appears to have been quietly forgotten? I’m surprised the author hasn’t found space to explain this.

    Enough about dogs, though, I’ve been scared of them since one jumped on my pram when I was a baby. Above all, what I like most about this series, as with other McCall Smith books, is the gentle romance. It is charming to see so cupid successfully loosing his arrows in so many directions. I hope that William finds someone. Wasn’t he musing about the importance of finding a soulmate who is one’s intellectual equal? I was reminded of this when I read your fascinating “book dating” post last week. I was tempted to comment on that one, but refrained from doing so in case I gave away too much about by own circumstances. Suffice it to say that, although a lot younger than William, I can identify with a lot that is currently on his mind. I too find myself attracted to women who wear glasses, because even though I know there is no connection between spectacle wearing and intelligence, there is something in my head that insists on making a connection between the two. (See Chapter 2 of TDWCIFTC if you’re wondering what I’m wittering on about here.)

    1. Jackie says:

      David,

      Thank you for your great comment!

      I’m afraid that my invisible ink technique is one I use sometimes – it is just a coincidence that it fits with the book.

      I’m sorry to hear you are having trouble downloading the story this year. I have an iPod, so don’t have any issues, but can see how it would be really annoying for you.

      I am liking the gentle romance too – it is nice to see the story developing so realistically, with such complex relationships. I would love to see William find true love. I love the fact you associate glasses with intelligence – I guess that it is a fairly common thought, but I have found it to very untrue in real life!

      I am amazed that you can even remember a dog jumping up at your pram – or perhaps it is your mother’s fear of dogs which has passed on to you? Sorry to hear you don’t like dogs – I don’t own one, but do have a soft spot for large, intelligent ones (not the small Pimlico in the book!)

      I look forward to sharing the rest of the book with you!

      1. David Nolan says:

        Yes, it seems you can. Thank you very much Rutger for letting us know, and thanks to Jackie whose blog made it possible.

        While I’m here I’ll admit I was rather relieved to get back to Freddie towards the end of this weeks episodes. Terence was beginning to get on my nerves.

        1. Jackie says:

          Rutger, Thank you so much for the helpful advice!

  6. Kim says:

    I am really enjoying listening to this and agree with you about Andrew Sachs being a good narrator, he really adds to the enjoyment of the experience, in my opinion. I wasn’t too sure about the first two chapters and think had I been reading the book, I would have been disappointed with the beginning of the story, especially if I had not read the first Cordurouy Mansions novel. However, it has picked up and now I look forward to it every day.
    I love the way you hid the spoiler, Jackie, that was very intriguing and entirely in keeping with the story so far.
    Looking forward to the further adventures of Freddie de la Hay and think my favourite bit so far has been the whole discussion between William and Sebastian in the park, too funny!

    1. Jackie says:

      Kim, I thought the beginning of the book was OK, but agree that it is improving all the time. I would love to know what reseach he did before writing the spy scene!

      I look forward to seeing how this story develops.

  7. LV says:

    I wasn’t too sure about the first two chapters and think had I been reading the book, I would have been disappointed with the beginning of the story, especially if I had not read the first Cordurouy Mansions novel. However, it has picked up and now I look forward to it every day.

  8. fdsfdsfd says:

    I wasn’t too sure about the first two chapters and think had I been reading the book, I would have been disappointed with the beginning of the story, especially if I had not read the first Cordurouy Mansions novel. However, it has picked up and now I look forward to it every day./

Leave a Reply